Gamer's Halloween Costume Guide
Video games are so much a part of pop culture that you can buy pre-packaged Super Mario Bros. Halloween costumes at your local Wal-Mart. Go the extra mile, though, and your costume can further the influence of video games on everybody at your Halloween party. Here are five costume ideas to get you started:
- Princess Peach
- Super Mario Bros. Series
Like the Super Mario Bros. series from whence she comes, Peach is an instantly recognizable character in modern culture. Key pieces to a Peach costume are a blond wig, pink dress (two-toned preferable), circular blue chest bling, some sort of gold crown, and white opera gloves. Optional pieces are matching pink heels, parasol, and plush Toad doll to carry around like the bitch he is.
Option 1: Hot Topic's "Princess Pink"
Includes pink puff sleeve dress, tiara, and gloves. You can get the wig here for $40 or probably find a cheaper option at a local Halloween shop.
Option 2: Leg Avenue's Princess Peach
Cost: Around $45
Includes two-tone pink dress, tiara, and gloves. Again, you're stuck buying the wig separate. Because this is a several years' old costume, however, you could buy it secondhand and use the leftover money to splurge on a really great wig.
Option 3: Full-on Cosplay
Cost: Anywhere from $60 to $200
Cosplay costumes usually go the extra mile toward realism, with a full-length skirts and actual jewelry for the chest bling. If you cruise eBay, you can score pieces of someone's well-made cosplay costume from years past, but you might get stuck with a one-size only option for the dress. Some handy cosplay sites give out dress patterns if you're ambitious enough to sew your own.
Bonus Option: Kid Peach
Includes pink dress, crown, and gloves. Sure, you're not going to wear it, but why not dress up your daughter (or son -- if that's how he rolls) to represent your video game love this Halloween instead?
- The Legend of Zelda
Link also has instant recognition going for him as a video game character in popular culture, but he's not quite popular enough to warrant pre-packaged costumes just yet. To score his look, you can do a half-assed version of the costume with just a green shirt, leather belt, and matching pants (black or brown -- pick one and stick to it), but most people don't think it's Link without the windsock-shaped hat. If you go for the hat, you may as well spring for a sword and shield of some kind -- but then you'll have to make the difficult decision about whether or not to wear tights or leggings instead of the pants. The good news is that Link's costume pieces are so basic, you can save a lot of money half-assing the clothes to then spend on expensive replica Master Swords and Hylian Shields.
Hot Topic's "Legendary Elf"
Cost: Between $35 and $65 depending on gender
Technically, this isn't a costume so much as an assortment of Hot Topic products that suggest Legend of Zelda. The cheapest way to pull this off is by shelling out $20 for the shirt, $5 for the dagger, and $10 for the hat -- then you can dig black or brown pants out of your closet to pair with unobtrusive hiking boots, plus a brown leather belt which most adults wind up owning at some point during the Job Hunt phase of life. If you're a woman, however, the $30 boots may temp you sorely, upping the total cost of this phoning-it-in number.
Option 2: DIY tunic + collector's item sword, shield
Cost: Between $35 and $100, depending on shield cost
There are tons of Hylian Shields and Master Swords floating around on eBay that'll serve the cheap to the classy, but remember to get a green shirt that's at least two sizes too large for you. Cut the collar off so that it forms a V down your chest and wear a white wife-beater underneath. Make sure the shirt trails down over your butt almost to the back of your thighs. Complete the look by cinching a brown belt around your waist (for the ladies), or just at your hips (for the guys).
Option 3: Full-on Cosplay
Cost: $100 to $400
Cosplay for Link gets intense when you factor in leather armor, or any alternate costumes Link may have worn in various games (like that scaled Zora armor from Twilight Princess). The big costs are still going to be sword and shield, so you may find a better cosplay bargain by picking and choosing second-hand accessories like the hat and leather gauntlets to pair with cheaper tunic alternatives.
- Main character from a Shooter
- Gears of War, Halo, Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, etc.
Nintendo characters are much beloved by pop culture, but excellent marketing campaigns on Halo and Gears of War have at least introduced images of Master Chief and Marcus Fenix to the public. So you could get away with going as one of them for Halloween. But you'll have a hard time doing it on the cheap.
Cost: $35 to $60 for the mask depending on retailer and however much money you want to spend on spray-painting cardboard boxes gray to pass for armor
Good luck breathing in that thing.
Option 2: Homemade military
Cost: Cheap -- maybe even $30 cheap
You can find fatigues on the cheap at any army surplus store, and sometimes pick up vintage officer's coats from thrift shops. The trick with military costumes is knowing which military shooter game you're going for. Modern Warfare is easier to emphasize with desert camo and night vision goggles (real or replica), while Medal of Honor follows specific historical periods you'll have to research in order to nail the look. If you want to get cute, get a ski mask and spray paint a skull on it, a la Modern Warfare 2's Ghost.
Option 3: Master Chief
Cost: $30 to $800
Halo's Master Chief is just popular enough to have an officially licensed packaged costume for sale at most major retailers (includes half-helmet, printed jumpsuit with EVA molded chest piece, and gauntlets - and it comes in kids sizes, too). The truly hardcore, however, will want the pricey cosplay sets made of thick plastic armor plating and quilted jumpsuits. And you can forget sipping Halloween cocktails in that getup.
- Homemade hardware costumes
- Whatever you have handy
The quirky and sarcastic folks out there probably won't want to shell out for officially licensed costumes and pre-fabricated dresses. Rather, they'll cast around their living rooms for materials with which to make a gamer's costume. If nothing else, it cuts down on costs. Here are some suggestions:
Instructions: Wear a white, long-sleeved shirt and white pants. Draw Wii Remote buttons proportionally down your body, starting at the chest with the black motion sensor panel and working toward your thighs with appropriate buttons and D-pad. If you really want to be a smartass, reverse the order of controls, wear a headband with a torn piece of fabric attached to the top, and then tell people it's a broken wrist strap. As funny as it may sound, don't wrap yourself in a condom -- it'll lead to awkward questions and possible suffocation.
Option 2: Controller Freak (get it?)
Instructions: Wear whatever you want, but make sure to put on a huge, sturdy belt. Take every single controller in your living room (including Rock Band instruments) and attach it to said belt. Then, go around pointing various controllers at various people in an attempt to "play them." Warning: This will stop being funny after the third chick you try it on.
Option 3: Arcade cabinet Instructions: Call Activision's Dan Amrich and beg him to sell you the NBA Jam costume he made to wear at this Halloween party back in his GamePro editor days.
- Mario and/or Luigi
- Super Mario Bros. Series
This costume is for the gamer who's just too lazy to put too much work into Halloween. Or perhaps for the gamer parent with two children they want to inflict gamer culture on. Either way, when you're looking for a gamer Halloween costume, it doesn't get any simpler (or cheaper) than Super Mario Bros.
Option 1: Packaged costumes at any Halloween store
Cost: $30 to $60
Includes jumpsuit in corresponding Mario Bro. color, hat, and mustache. If it's missing even one of these things, don't buy it -- you're getting ripped off.
Option 2: Fat suits and wrenches
Cost: $40 for the fat suit, $15 for a wrench if you don't already own one
These accessories are for the truly committed who just don't have the cosplay know how to pull off luxuriant mustaches. Pair with Option 1 or Option 3 for maximum effect.
Option 3: DIY awesome
Cost: $50 for good overalls, $5 for a green or red shirt, $6 for a green or red baseball cap, $2 for a bottle of Wite-Out
Use a letter stencil when painting the Wite-Out onto the ball cap and make sure you're not doing it backwards. Overalls are in this year, so they should be easy to find at Target, Sears, or pricier jean retailers.